During his time at Texas Tech, Donny Anderson earned the nickname the "Golden Palomino". Anderson received All-American honors twice in 1964 and 1965 and was a three-time all-Southwest Conference halfback 1963-65. Anderson held many of Texas Tech's football records as his career ended with the 1965 season. He finished fourth in the 1965 Heisman Trophy race. Anderson is part of the Texas Tech Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Anderson began his NFL career a in 1966 as #44 for the Packers. Anderson was drafted in the 1st Round as the 7th Pick for $600,000, the highest in NFL history to that date. Anderson and his new teammate, Jim Grabowski, were to become known as the "Gold Dust Twins" in the sixties.
On February 22, 1972, the Green Bay Packers traded Anderson to the St. Louis Cardinals for MacArthur Lane. Anderson played his final three seasons, 1972-1974, for the Cardinals.
While with the Packers, Anderson originated the concept of hang time in punting. Until Anderson, punters typically strove for maximum distance, with the NFL's leaders usually averaging 45 or more yards a punt. Punt returns varied, with an average of perhaps 5 yards per return. In 1967, Anderson worked instead at punting the ball higher, shortening the distance traveled but increasing the ball's time in the air, allowing better coverage by his team on the punt return. Green Bay punted 66 times that year, 63 of them by Anderson; opponents were able to return only 13 of them, for a total of 22 yards or about 1/3 yard per punt. It was Anderson's coach, Vince Lombardi, who explained the concept to sportswriters who questioned why Lombardi didn't try to find a better punter than Anderson, who averaged only 36.6 yards per punt that year. Lombardi pointed out the lack of return yardage. Other punters soon followed Anderson, working for greater hang time. Eventually the NFL changed its rules governing punt coverage, to restore the ability to return punts.
Anderson graduated in 1961 from Stinnett High School, located in Stinnett, the seat of Hutchinson County.